Pre-COVID, schools offered online degrees to help learners maintain some sort of balance between work and education. Still, it was an option – catching on slowly, but still, just an option since most people favored an on-campus university education to this model. The pandemic changed things completely, making it so that students no longer have the choice if they want to keep studying. Distance learning is the new normal, and it’s here to while from the look of things.
Is that a bad thing? Not entirely, since technology has improved so much these days. A student has access to almost all the resources they would need, even without the proximity to a learning facility.
Here are the pros and cons of this model of learning
Case for Remote Learning
- Study anywhere, anytime
- Pace yourself
- Creative teaching
- Individualized attention
Study Anywhere at Anytime
The thing that attracts most people to online studying is the ability to study from any part of the world without relocating. A student in Japan will take up a course in the UK remotely, and mostly at half the cost and time. This makes education at Ivy League schools within reach of people that would otherwise be restricted by time, money, and distance. Busy people with great time management skills are able to make the most of their time through this study model.
At Your Pace
Learning curves are different. A concept that one student will understand in 10 minutes will take another double the time to grasp. Online studies allow students to go back to what is being taught when it is still fresh so they can replay to understand fully. They also get to plan a study time that suits them, unlike one-on-one classes that demand a physical presence. An executive who needs to study and travel internationally for a meeting can catch an entire class while on the plane.
In a class of 25 students, the educator is not always able to give personalized attention to each. Slow learners often have a hard time when they fail to understand what’s being taught quickly enough. Technology makes it possible for a student to slow things down when they are overwhelmed so they can learn at their pace with an online program.
The learning environment in remote studies is already a deviation from traditions that already leads both students and tutors to think differently. They cannot keep applying traditional teaching and learning methods, which then allows for a diversified way of thinking. Tutors find themselves moving from the examples they would ordinarily give in a classroom scenario, and this opens the class to creative, critical thinking.
Case Against Distance Learning
- Requires personal discipline and motivation
- Reliance on internet connectivity
- Some courses need hands-on teaching
Reliance on the Internet
Even though internet speeds have improved greatly with 4G and 5G networks, not all parts of the world have a stable internet connection. This inequality gives some students an unfair advantage over others when learning is fully online. Even in a part of the world with the best internet connection, things could go wrong at any time seeing as no system is foolproof.
Classes could never be interrupted midway in a traditional setting unless something as serious as the teacher coming down with something happened.
Discipline and Motivation
A motivated learner has it easy with remote engagement since they don’t need all the pushing and prodding. Since it is flexible, remote learning allows a student to create their preferred study time, which a more dependent learner may find challenging. When people set time for offline classes, they have to drop everything at that appointed time to learn. This only works effectively with highly motivated and disciplined people.
Some Courses are Hard to Teach Online
Some students cannot seem to understand a concept clearly until they are in close proximity to the educator. Also, some of the courses taught in school are impossible to teach effectively without a physical presence. Engineering, surgery, and sports studies are some of those that necessitate a face-to-face class since there is a lot to be done experimentally.
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Even with technological advancement, these and others in their category may have to continue being taught the traditional way.
Is Either Better than the Other?
Neither on-campus studying nor distance learning is better than the other. Higher education may collide with work and other things, making it impossible for students to be in a class physically. There is no reason why one should postpone their plans when they can take up a course remotely. Of course, the experience that comes with being on-campus will lack, such as lively class discussions among mates and the chance to mingle with like-minded people, but sometimes it may be the only way to advance one’s education.
About the Author
Eve Maygar is a blogger and writer at PapersOwl, with a focus on educational material. She has written several papers on the topic and is sought after for her knowledge of advancing education and learning in general.